ULI Advisory Services Panel Offers Recommendations on Reuse of Buffalo Hospital Site

Senior Housing, Retail, Healthcare, Office and Hospitality Uses Seen as Having Potential

For more information, contact: Robert Krueger at 202-624-7051; rkrueger@uli.org

WASHINGTON (April 4, 2011) – An advisory services panel from the Urban Land Institute recently offered recommendations on the redevelopment of a site in Buffalo housing the Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital, which is set to close next year. During its weeklong visit in late March, the panel focused on how best to position the facility as an attractive property for quick sale; catalyze the revitalization of the surrounding area; and retain and reinforce the site’s historic character.

The panel’s sponsor, Kaleida Health, hired ULI to provide redevelopment advice following their decision to relocate its services to Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus by early next year. The 10-acre, 800,000 sq. ft. site has been occupied by the hospital since 1911. According to panel chairman Michael Beyard, the panelists advised that a transfer of ownership and responsibility to a single-purpose entity would be the most efficient way to oversee and entitle the property, so that a master plan developer is selected in the most cost- and time-effective manner.

Additionally, the panel believed that transferring the title to a non-profit development management entity would be the most ideal way of ensuring that: 1) redevelopment focuses on residential as the primary use; 2) required entitlements are obtained for each development stage; 3) a community involvement plan is created; 4) a viable development financing plan is devised; and 5) environmental surveys are completed.

In addition to the transfer of ownership, the panel suggested adapting existing buildings for market rate, independent and assisted senior living. It also recommended reuse of the site for retail and hospitality, including medical and office space, a small boutique hotel, and space for local retailers.

In forming its recommendations, the panel considered the site’s strong reputation within the neighborhood; the quick access to city commerce; the City of Buffalo’s declining market and population, and the threat of declining neighborhood property values. A panel analysis of the area showed opportunities for tax credits and the chance to enhance the site’s surrounding neighborhood.

The panel was organized through ULI’s advisory services program, in which the Institute assembles experts in the fields of real estate, land use and infrastructure planning to participate as volunteers on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies.

Past sponsors of ULI advisory services panels include: federal, state and local government agencies; regional councils of government; chambers of commerce; redevelopment authorities; private developers and property owners; community development corporations; lenders; historic preservation groups; non-profit community groups; environmental organizations; and economic development agencies. Over the years, the program has been a leader in offering redevelopment advice for challenges across the country, including recommendations for Oklahoma City after the 1995 federal building bombing; Minneapolis following the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in 2007; Lower Manhattan after the 9-11 terrorist attacks; and the Gulf Coast region following Hurricane Katrina.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.